New Career Center Books

This month, we got in some fantastic books about Women and the Workplace. You may place a hold on any Career Center book through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage Their Careers
by Lois P. Frankel, PhD

Although things have come a long way toward gender equality in the workplace within the past 50 years, there is still a sharp imbalance at the very top: only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female. In this updated edition to her New York Times bestseller, executive coach Lois Frankel examines the reasons women have such difficulty reaching the top levels of their careers. She discusses a distinctive set of behaviors which women learn in girlhood that ultimately sabotage their career growth, and offers suggestions for how to be less of a “nice girl” and more of a confident professional.

How Exceptional Black Women Lead: Unlocking the Secrets to Phenomenal Success in Career and in Life
by Avis A. Jones-Deweever, PhD

Black women can face unique challenges in the workplace, being discriminated against on two fronts. For this reason, it can be difficult for many black women to aspire to career success as leaders in their fields. Yet there is reason to take heart. This book contains perspectives and advice from 70 exceptional black women leaders across diverse industries. These stories, combined with research data, offer strategies, techniques, and inspiration for black women seeking to rise to the top.

Rocking Your Role: The “How to” Guide to Success for Female Breadwinners
by Jenny Garrett

Female breadwinners can face a bit of a quandary when it comes to their families. Although it’s great to be successful, there’s a taboo on out-earning one’s husband. This book helps unpack everything that goes along with being a female breadwinner – the guilt, the resentment from the spouse, the judgment from the neighbors, the fear of being a bad mom, the exhaustion of trying to do it all – and offers ideas for coping and thriving.

Written by Lynnette Lee

 

New Career Center Books

This month, our list focuses on recent graduates, who may be starting to worry about the uncertain road ahead. Not to fear, the Career Center can help! Try one of these titles. You may place a hold on any Career Center book through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

How to Get Money for College
by Peterson’s Educational Publishing

This enormous book aims to help you navigate the labyrinth of college financial aid. It is a compendium of information about financial aid at US universities. It includes detailed profiles on hundreds of schools’ financial aid opportunities, a state-by-state listing of public scholarship and grant programs, and a quick reference chart to help you compare your options.

Better than College: How to Build a Successful Life without a Four-Year Degree
by Blake Bolles

Have you ever thought that college may not be the best fit for you? Are you afraid that without a college degree, you won’t be able to have a successful career? This book questions much of the conventional wisdom about the necessity of a college degree. It suggests different ways of gaining marketable knowledge and skills, with example success stories, self-assessments, and ideas for ways to get started.

101 Weird Ways to Make Money: Cricket Farming, Repossessing Cars, and Other Jobs with Big Upside and Not Much Competition
by Steve Gillman

You’re done with school, but not sure what to do in the real world? Not crazy about the idea of working in an office? Try this list of unconventional jobs which were almost certainly not options on the career tests you took in high school. The book is divided into subsections based on the type of work (Working Outdoors, Internet Opportunities, etc.), and each job listing includes a description of the work, information about pay, and resources to find out more and get started in the field. The options include everything from Rodeo Clown to Chimney Sweep to Overseas English Teacher.

Written by Lynnette Lee

Book Review: The Crossroads of Should and Must

Books about how to find your passion seem to be a dime a dozen these days. The Crossroads of Should and Must, Find and Follow your Passion by Elle Luna is worth picking out of the crowd. It’s a quick and easy read, and yet it contains enough depth to make us think and reconsider options and choices. It is also a fun book to look at. Luna is a designer and painter and incorporates many colorful illustrations in the text.

The Crossroads

The book is divided into four short parts. The first one “The Crossroads” describes her central theme: “There are two paths in life: Should and Must. We arrive at this crossroads over and over again. And every day, we get to choose.”

She argues “should” is the conventional way — how other people or society tell us we should live. “Must” comes from inside us: it is who we are and what we like, our authentic self. Needless to say, Luna advocates for following our “must” and not the “should”, admitting that “must” is the much harder road to follow.

The Origin of Should

This part of the book explains how “should” is placed on us all the time. From childhood on, we grow up to conform to the standards of others. The “shoulds” we have internalized are often hard to decipher. Luna gives us pointers on how to recognize and overcome them.

Must

This is the longest chapter of the book. Most people have no idea what their “must” is or what they were born to do. Luna describes exercises that the reader can use to discern their wishes and talents. None of the exercises are really new, but the way she describes and presents them are fresh and original.

This chapter also addresses the most common obstacles to people following their dreams or “musts.” These are, according to Luna, money, time, and space. Again, she outlines creative approaches to how to overcome those obstacles.

The Return

In the final part the author warns that the crossroads of “should” and “must” will be met over and over again. This is not a one- time occurrence. How to deal with the repeating pattern of decisions is addressed in this chapter. It is inspirational and encourages the reader to keep going.

Overall this book is worth reading because of Luna’s fresh and easy writing and presentation style as well as the practical and easy-to-use exercises and applications she presents. If you want a fresh, quick inspirational book that will make you think, this might just be the one.

Written by Anne Nowak.

New Career Center Books

You may place a hold on any Career Center book through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

         

Modernize Your Resume and Modernize Your Job Search Letters
by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark

An enormous amount of the job search involves written communication. These two books serve as companion pieces to help jobseekers with all job-search-related letters and correspondence. Modernize Your Resume offers resume-writing strategies, a variety of formatting choices, and more than eighty examples of resumes.  Modernize Your Job Search Letters contains helpful advice and examples for: cover letters, thank-you letters, networking letters, e-notes, and letter for unique job search challenges. Both authors are Master Resume Writers and Credentialed Career Managers.

The Ex-Offender’s Re-Entry Assistance Directory
by Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D.

The transition from incarceration back into mainstream society is often arduous and overwhelming. This book aims to help ex-offenders get back on their feet and navigate the difficult barriers they face. The directory is jam-packed with information about key government agencies, nonprofit groups, and faith-based organizations focused on assisting ex-offenders with re-entry. The directory offers resources for employment help, but also for a variety of other issues that may affect a jobseeker’s chances, including housing, transportation, substance abuse, education, mental health, finances, clothing, and tattoo removal. The book contains detailed breakdowns of programs available in every state, as well as information on helpful nationwide and online resources. Author Ron Krannich has written dozens of career guidance books, many of which focus on ex-offenders.

When Talent Isn’t Enough: Business Basics for the Creatively Inclined
by Kristen Fischer

Creative professionals (such as artists, designers, writers, etc.) often work freelance, as independent contractors, or as entrepreneurs. Many of these struggle to earn a living, in spite of their valuable talents, because of a lack of business acumen. This book seeks to give creative professionals the business savvy to make themselves successful as freelancers and entrepreneurs. Subjects include: marketing, self-promotion, legalities, bookkeeping, challenging client situations, and cultivating client relationships.

Written by Lynnette Lee

 

Book Review: Grit

Growing up, Angela Duckworth and her siblings were repeatedly told by their father that they were no geniuses. In third grade, Duckworth didn’t qualify for the gifted and talented programs at school, seemingly proving her father’s point. How poignant then that in 2013 she won a MacArthur Genius Grant for her studies on grit and perseverance. She is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Grit, The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a summary of the studies conducted by Duckworth and her colleagues into the topic.

The major outcome of her studies is that innate talent and IQ matter much less in determining and predicting success and accomplishment than grit. Grit is defined as a combination of passion and perseverance. Two of Duckworth’s larger quantitative studies were conducted with West Point cadets and participants in the National Spelling Bee, environments known for talented, intelligent, and gritty individuals.

Duckworth concludes that there are four necessary components of grit:

  1. Interest
  2. Capacity to practice
  3. Purpose
  4. Hope, defined as a “rising-to- the-occasion kind of perseverance”

The book is divided into three parts: the first is about what grit is and why it matters; the second is about how to foster and nurture grit from within; and the third is about how to encourage grit from the outside.

What grit is and why it matters

This chapter outlines Duckworth’s studies at West Point and the National Spelling Bee. She argues that the discussion about what determined success is still too dominated by a focus on innate talent and that most people are blinded by “naturals.” We seem to prefer people with natural talent. This, however, is to our detriment, since her studies have shown that perseverance coupled with passion is a much better predictor of success and accomplishment. Duckworth says: “I will argue that, as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”

Growing grit from the inside out

This is probably the most important part of the book. It explains how we can all become more persevering and nurture our grit. Duckworth goes into the details of the four components of grit as outlined above.

First, there has to be interest. Most people will not know their particular field of interest right away. It takes some time and experimenting until most of us hit upon the things we are so passionate or excited about that we are willing to invest time and effort to hone our skills.

Second, there needs to be a lot of practice. What the grit paragons in Duckworth’s studies have in common was that they all wanted to continuously improve their skills. But efficient practice does not just mean logging hours. Effective practice needs to be deliberate, and deliberate practice is defined as:

  • A clearly defined stretch goal
  • Full concentration and effort
  • Immediate and informative feedback
  • Repetition with reflection and refinement

Third, there needs to be purpose. Having purpose is energizing and engaging. Studies have shown that high school students who saw how their studying and school work could make a difference later on study more and with better outcomes than those who don’t see how they could make a difference. The same holds true for employees. Those who perceive making a difference in people’s lives and having a purpose perform better and are happier in their jobs than employees who don’t see themselves connected to the greater good.

Last but not least, there needs to be hope, defined as a “rising-to- the-occasion kind of perseverance.” Psychologists have found that a feeling of control is the key element in hope. Studies have shown that it is not suffering itself that leads to hopelessness but suffering we think we can’t control. People scoring high on grit tend to explain events optimistically. They have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. Duckworth writes: “The reality is that most people have an inner fixed mindset pessimist in them right alongside their inner growth mindset optimist.” Optimists search for temporary, specific, and thus fixable causes of their suffering. Pessimists, however, see permanent and pervasive, thus not fixable, causes as the root of their suffering. The more we can foster a more optimistic mindset, the grittier we will become.

Growing grit from the outside in

This part discusses how grit can be fostered from the outside, such as parenting for grit and creating a culture of grit in organizations. Most space and time is devoted to raising gritty kids and adolescents. One of the most interesting study outcomes described here is the fact that participating in extracurricular activities in high school for at least two years is a better predictor of college and academic success than SAT scores or grades. Duckworth concludes that sticking with an extracurricular activity for at least two years shows follow-through, which requires, as well as builds, grit.

Overall this is an interesting read, in which well researched social science meets life skills. The studies and outcomes are easy to understand, and their conclusions and recommendations have direct impact on people’s daily lives.

Written by Anne Nowak.

New Career Center Books

You may place a hold on any Career Center book through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens: Discovering Yourself, Defining Your Future
by Richard N. Bolles, Carol Christen, and M. Jean Blomquist

The What Color Is Your Parachute? series represents the gold standard of career planning, helping generations of job seekers to discover their passions and find their dream careers. In this edition, the authors focus on assisting teenagers with answering the all-important question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” The guide includes assessments, career information, and expert job search tips, focused exclusively on the teenage perspective.

Libraries in the Information Age: An Introduction and Career Exploration
by Denise K. Fourie and Nancy E. Loe

This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is considering a library career. It contains detailed information on the various types of libraries and library-related careers, the day-to-day duties of library jobs, the changing role technology plays in library research, and job search tips.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
by Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, has long been a symbol of success. But when her exhaustion landed her in the hospital, she began to wonder if her success were costing her too much. After extensive research, Huffington determined that our definition of success needs to change — that, in addition to power and money, we need a Third Metric to determine a person’ success. This Third Metric relates to our personal well-being. This self-help book combines personal anecdotes, scientific studies on psychology and physiology, and recommended techniques and exercises for reducing stress and balancing priorities. Its goal is to help everyone become more successful — in the sense of being well-rounded, happy, healthy, and not a slave to one’s career.

Written by Lynnette Lee

Book Review: In the Company of Women

In the Company of Women

Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge, opens her introduction with a quote by activist Marian Wright Edelman, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Representation matters, and this is the impetus behind the creation of Bonney’s collection of interviews, In the Company of Women. As an entrepreneur herself, Bonney wanted to create a book depicting role models to inspire all women on their own professional journeys. The makers, artists, and entrepreneurs interviewed include women of color, women from the LGBT community, and differently abled women — communities that are often underrepresented — who are running their own businesses.

Each woman’s story is unique, but they are connected in their passion, dedication, and determination. Some of the life and business lessons shared here are similar, but ultimately they demonstrate that there are many paths possible in pursuing your dream as long as you continue to learn and adapt.

In the Company of Women is available from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, and below is a sampling of the interviews.

Danielle Colding: Interior Designer, Brooklyn, NY

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting out?

To make sure to hire professionals to do the things you are not good at or knowledgeable about. The key takeaway was that you don’t have to be able to do everything on your own. Look to the experts when you need to.

Amalia Mesa-Bains: Artist, Curator, Author, San Juan Bautista, CA

What does success mean to you?

When I was younger, I thought success was about big, prestigious exhibitions. But as the years have passed, I feel even more successful when my work, both art and writing, is valuable to a younger generation, a legacy of sorts.

Roxanne Gay: Writer, Professor, West Lafayette, Indiana

What characteristic do you most admire in other creative women?

I admire their tenacity, their capacity for creating beauty and the unexpected forms that beauty takes.

Matika Wilbur: Photographer, Seattle, WA

If you were given $100 million, would you run your business any differently? How so?

Yes, I’d hire “superpeople.” We’d work in education, media, and music, and I’d create a fun, get-things-done professional and business network, like a consortium to celebrate Native artistic and intellectual talent. (There’s so much out there!) And I’d support important battles and challenges that my people, especially Native children and women, are up against.

Veronica Corzo-Duchardt: Graphic Designer, Artist, Philadelphia, PA

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

When I’m doubting myself or having a hard time, I turn to my wife and a few close friends. It’s really important to surround yourself with people who are supportive. They usually help me put things into perspective. And at the very least, they’ll make me a strong whiskey cocktail and tell me how awesome I am, which doesn’t hurt.

Natalie Chanin: Fashion Designer, Florence, AL

Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night.

Cash flow. Cash flow. Cash flow. It is a good thing that many businesses are started by the young because older, more financially savvy people might never make the leap. I always advise those who want to start their own businesses to learn as much as possible about accounting, saving, and investing. Many families count on me and on the business I created to put food on their tables. That is not a responsibility I take lightly.

Carla Hall: Chef, Television Host, Washington, D.C.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss that isn’t obvious?

The lack of an employee annual review. There are times when I would welcome a report card from a third party.

Ayumi Horie: Potter, Portland, ME

Name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business.

The lesson I’ve learned over and over is not to compromise on quality. Even though it might take twice as long to attend to all the tiny details necessary to make something shipshape, it’s worth the effort.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher: Dancer, Choreographer, Cleveland, OH

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to be a dancer and follow in my mother’s footsteps for as long as I can remember. I believe I was three years old when I started telling people that I wanted to be a dancer even though I was in a wheelchair.

Written by Anne Nowak

New Career Center Books

If you’re looking to start your own business, you are in luck! We have recently received several new titles from the How to Start a Home-Based Business series from Globe Pequot Press. Each book in this series tackles a different type of home-based business. The books break down the process of starting a new business, including the following aspects: how to offer a quality product in your specific field, writing a business plan, pricing your products or services, marketing your business, financial planning, and legalities.

You may place a hold on any Career Center book through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

How to Start a Home-based Bookkeeping Business

How to Start a Home-Based Bookkeeping Business
by Michelle Long

How to Start a Home-based Handyman Business

How to Start a Home-Based Handyman Business
by Terry Meany

How to Start a Home-based Etsy Business

How to Start a Home-Based Etsy Business
by Gina Luker

How to Start a Home-based Fashion Design Business

How to Start a Home-Based Fashion Design Business
by Angela Wolf

How to Start a Home-based Catering Business

How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business
by Denise Vivaldo

How to Start a Home-based Professional Organizing Business

How to Start a Home-Based Professional Organizing Business
by Dawn Noble

Written by Lynnette Lee

Book Review: Daring Greatly

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.

The “arena” here refers to life, and in Daring Greatly, researcher and author Brené Brown makes the case that if we show up as we are and are willing to engage, vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength. Brown views vulnerability as a kind of courage required for fully embracing opportunities that come our way, whether in our personal life or career.

She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable — essentially accepting that there will be unknowns and choosing to engage despite the discomfort caused by uncertainty — is what allows us to have healthy relationships, growth in our careers, and success in guiding a business or company. In Daring Greatly, Brown examines what drives our fears of being vulnerable, the defenses we employ to avoid vulnerability, and how to overcome these fears.

The fear of vulnerability stems from the fear of never being enough, or what Brown refers to as the culture of scarcity. This feeling of not being enough is a result of shame, comparison, and disengagement, which correlate with the most common “armor” that we use to shield ourselves from vulnerability: foreboding joy, perfectionism, and numbing.

Shame → Foreboding Joy

Shame: Believing that we are not inherently worthy and that our self-worth is tied to factors such as achievements, productivity, or compliance.

Foreboding joy: Fear that the goodness in our lives will not last, that we are not worthy and thus undeserving of the joy.

Antidote: Practice gratitude

Honor what you have instead of obsessing over potential loss. By appreciating the moments of joy fully, we are less likely to have regrets if and when the source of joy is no longer there. If you have a job you love, embrace your good fortune and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Even if you do lose your job, you’ll know that you have made the most of every moment and most likely gained new skills and knowledge that will be an asset in your next position. However, if you land your dream job and spend all your time worrying about losing it, you may be overlooking opportunities for connection and growth.

Comparison → Perfectionism

Comparison: An exaggerated emphasis on what is lacking or missing instead of recognizing the unique talents and contributions of each person.

Perfectionism: Trying to avoid shame, judgement, and blame by being perfect or doing things perfectly, which is an unattainable goal.

Antidote: Appreciate the beauty of cracks

Kintsugi is a Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer that is mixed with a precious metal such as gold, silver, or platinum. The mending is visible, a reminder of the history of the piece, and also demonstrates that flaws can be beautiful. Often, we hold themselves to impossible standards but would not expect the same of others. Treat yourself with compassion just as you would treat others with compassion.

Disengagement → Numbing

Disengagement: Being afraid to take risks and thus choosing to not even try.

Numbing: Avoiding feelings, shutting down to protect yourself from uncomfortable emotions.

Antidote: Set boundaries and Cultivate Your Spirit

Know what is important and know when to let go. Set boundaries so that you don’t become overwhelmed or overtaxed, both in terms of time, emotions, and commitments. Be aware of indulging in “shadow” comforts, which provide a temporary reprieve but have no lasting effect, versus true comforts which nourish and invigorate the spirit.

Vulnerability & Daring Greatly

This is just a brief overview of some of the key points in Daring Greatly. Brown goes deep and wide in her examination of vulnerability, including strategies for cultivating shame resilience and the role of vulnerability in education, work, and parenting. She illustrates each point with specific instances from her own life and conversations with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers, as well as her research and the research of others.

The title of Brown’s book comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech “Citizen in a Republic,” delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. This passage from the speech could be considered a touchstone for Brown, who often uses this scenario to illustrate the power of engaging with vulnerability; it is what gives us the courage to dare greatly and, even when we fail, to stay in the arena and try again.

Although Brown focuses largely on personal growth and relationships, she does give examples of how vulnerability can benefit professional growth and careers, and there are other advocates who also make the case that vulnerability can positively impact business and entrepreneurship. One such advocate is Anthony Tjan, CEO of the venture capital firm Cue Ball, who has contributed an article for the Harvard Business Review titled “Vulnerability: The Defining Trait of Great Entrepreneurs.”

 

Check out this interview with Brené Brown in which she discusses the major themes in Daring Greatly and in her follow up book Rising Strong. And if you want to delve more deeply, both books are available from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.

Written by Thien-Kieu Lam.

Book Review: The New Geography of Jobs

The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti is a book that informs its readers where the “hot” technology jobs are and details the benefits to those communities that are fortunate enough to become a “technology hub.”

So, “location, location,” is not just important in real estate but also in the job market.  Relocating is much more common today than ever before. The idea of relocation reminded me of the great migrations that have occurred in society. The California Gold Rush between 1848 and 1855,  the Great African American Migration between 1910 and 1970 from the southern United States to other parts of the country, and other social and political movements have caused waves of human beings to completely uproot themselves for what they hoped or believed will be greener, safer, or more economically stable pastures.

However, Moretti looks beyond the urgent needs of just a safe place to live to focus on a deliberate migration that draws people to one city or community based upon shared interests and goals. The American narrative has been much the same since foreigners discovered its existence. Today, the opportunity to become a “heavy hitter” is still a big motivator, and the playing field has greatly improved. Yesterday, the innovators and risk takers were Edison, Ford, and Firestone; now it’s Gates, Musk, Zuckerberg, and the Kardashians.

Moretti also addresses the growing separation and segregation of society as like-minded individuals cluster together, creating new communities and new economic possibilities. In this respect, innovators are like magnets. Whether it’s Silicon Valley or another tech hub, their presence in the community draws others who add to or help grow the industry.  These hubs then attract others who support the innovators by building infrastructure around these communities.

As the innovators prosper so do the communities at large.  Even those without a four-year degree can make a better living wage.  According to Moretti, the ripple effect does not stop there but has social implications as well.  With the influx of people to help support these innovators, the dating pool also increases. Who knew that Bill Gates could actually be indirectly responsible for hundreds of couples in wedded bliss?

In yesterday’s economy, an average Joe or Jane could expect to get a good paying job in well-paying industries like manufacturing, oil and gas, or construction just down the street or in the neighboring town. But in order to find these jobs in this economy, you have to go where the action is — literally.  And this may require you to move again and again. This is the new look of the middle class. For most, gone are the days of a family owning the same home, traditionally a house, and passing it along through the family line.  Rather, the newer generation may view the home as a place of purpose and not as a family tradition. It could be used to leverage new ventures or sold to provide startup monies for a move into a completely different direction.

What happens to those who either can’t or are not willing to move to explore other avenues?  Will there always be the poor? Yes. But do you have to be among them? Moretti lays out some guidelines for avoiding debtor’s prison, such as education. With a four-year degree in one of the in-demand fields and placing yourself within arm’s reach of the job market — or to use Moretti’s term, where the market is “thick” — you greatly increase your chances of obtaining the career you desire and the income that will give you a comfortable living. This is the New American dream.

Written by Cynthia Payton.

The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti can be found in the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s book collection. View availability via the online catalog.